Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Is Jon Kyl getting 'creative' with his press releases?

Blogger ThinkRight has the text of a press release that Kyl's office issued today, lauding the Senate's passage of an SCHIP extension (S2499).

From ThinkRight's post -
Senate Extends Children's Health Care, Averts Medicare Physician Payment Cuts

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Senate today approved legislation that will avert a scheduled 10 percent payment reduction to doctors who provide Medicare services and temporarily extend funding for the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP).

When I first looked into this, I couldn't find any evidence that the Senate had even considered an SCHIP bill today, much less passed one. The only recorded votes concerned the omnibus appropriations bill and a judicial appointment.

I started salivating at the thought of catching the good Senator in a fib, but continued to research, and found this article in the Hartford Courant that indicated that the measure was approved by unanimous consent.

Still, while Kyl's press release may not have been an outright lie, he was rather creative with it.

First, and I give him (or more likely, whichever staffer was relegated to writing the press release) credit for not saying that Kyl voted for the bill, because no Senator actually did vote for it. "Unanimous consent" simply means that none of them expressed an objection to it.

Second, while the press release sort of implies that Kyl supported the bill, it never comes out and says so.

Which is a good thing, because he has never supported the extension of SCHIP.

To whit:

- when HR1591 was passed by the Senate on March 29, he was one of 47 Senators to vote against it. That bill was later vetoed by President Bush and died when the House failed to override that veto.

- when HR976 was passed by the Senate on September 27, he was one of 29 Senators to vote against it. Again, Bush vetoed the bill and the House failed to override the veto.

- when HR3963 was passed by the Senate on November 1, he was one of 30 Senators to vote against it. The bill was vetoed and is awaiting a January override vote.

So with that kind of consistent track record of opposition to SCHIP, why didn't he derail the unanimous consent on the new SCHIP renewal?

Because it protected Medicare reimbursement rates for doctors and health care corporations.

From the press release -
"This legislation prevents a scheduled cut in physician payments..."
Note: I don't actually have a problem with ensuring that physicians receive reasonable compensation for their services, but I find it rather telling that Kyl opposed health care for poor children until his campaign donors in the health care industry* got something.

This does not speak well for Sen. Kyl's character and humanity.

Of course, he's a United States Senator; his 'character' won't be an issue until his next reelection campaign. In 2012.

After all that, I've come to the conclusion that Sen. Kyl needs to give a raise to whoever wrote the press release - it's not just creative, it's a work of art. While never actually presenting an actual lie, the release nimbly avoids actual truth.

Of course2, the ability to give credit where it's due requires a little character, and it's already obvious what I think of Sen. Kyl's character.

* - According to OpenSecrets.org, Kyl received more than $1.2 million in campaign contributions from the health care industry during the 2005 - 2006 election cycle.

Good night...